FC Cartagena – 2 Southampton ‘B’ – 0
FC Cartagena played their first pre-season friendly at nearby Pinatar Arena last Wednesday evening. Opponents Southampton FC ‘B’, also known as under 23s, had undergone extensive preparation for this match. Saints ‘B’, along with other Premier league second string sides, have entered the Papa Johns trophy, where they will play league 1 & 2 sides. They have been placed with Exeter, Forest Green and Newport in their group. With early rounds due to commence in August, Cartagena proved to be a useful tester for what is to come.
A good crowd in excess of 700, were treated to end-to-end football, sensibly refereed by Clemente Ortuno. Familiar with the current red-hot conditions, Cartagena set off at break neck speed, forcing their opponents to defend for long periods. On the half hour mark, some lovely build up play down the right flank, resulted in Adrian Ayala-Sanmartin being released in plenty of space.
The tricky winger then floated an inch perfect ball to Alfredo Orturo, who made no mistake in tapping the ball home from close range. Following numerous near misses by EFESE (Cartagena’s nickname), the inevitable second goal arrived on 42 mins.
A rare Southampton assault on goal broke down, resulting in EFESE punishing them on the counter attack. A cross field pass found the feet of Diego de Pedro, who worked his way past Matt Carson, before planting an unstoppable drive past Ollie Wright in Saints goal.
Despite a resilient 2nd half, Saints were unable to break down Cartagena’s rock steady defence. The closest they came to scoring, was when substitute Ballard brought off a wordly save from Cartagena keeper Escandell.
There were also clear chances for Cartagena’s Arribas, Teddy & Borja, but the Costa Calida based side were unable to add to their goal tally. Played in a hard but fair manner, the game’s first booking arrived on 65 mins, shown to Cartagena defender Rico, then in stoppage time, the card count was evened up when Morgan suffered the same fate.
Both teams are scheduled to appear again at Pinatar Area in July. Saints take on Villarreal ‘B’ on Sun 17 Jul, ko 7pm, before returning to the small Hampshire town, close to their big city neighbour Portsmouth.
Cartagena play La Liga side Getafe on Thurs 21 Jul, ko 7pm, before embarking on their Segunda division campaign, when they will host Ponferradina on Mon 15 Aug, ko 10pm.